BROADCAST NEWS: COULD NEWS CORP CUT INTEREST IN FOX?
In a move that could "saddle" News Corp. Chair Rupert
Murdoch with a huge tax liability and "stifle foreign investment
in U.S. broadcasting," FCC staff members have recommended that
regulators consider a restructuring of Fox's ownership to comply
with federal foreign-ownership laws, according to FCC sources
cited by the L.A. TIMES. By reducing News Corp.'s ownership of
Fox from 99% to 25%, Murdoch would be allowed to keep his Fox-
owned TV stations. But the reconfiguration would also have
"significant tax consequences," according to a lawyer
knowledgeable about Murdoch's finances. One Fox official, after
being told about the possible FCC recommendation: "This is pure
speculation ... but if it were true, it's outrageous. We would
be surprised if the commission would follow such a
recommendation, but if they did, we would fight it at every
level." The FCC is aiming to resolve the matter today. "But
several commissioner indicated they wanted more time to review
the matter" (Jube Shiver, L.A. TIMES, 4/21).
TURNER: Ted Turner has strengthened his control over TBS.
In two separate transactions last month, Turner increased his
voting control to about 66.7% from 65.2%. Turner did so by
acquiring over 2.2 million supervoting class A shares, including
458,865 shares from Braves Chair William Bartholomay (ATLANTA
ABC: Cap Cities/ABC said 1stQ net income rose 36% from a
year ago, as "strong advertiser demand boosted the results" of
the ABC network and the Cap Cities stations. The company
attributed improved revenue to the telecast of Super Bowl XXIX
(WALL STREET JOURNAL, 4/21).